Young guns rise to glory at New Zealand Amateur

By NZ Golf

Champions Louis Dobbelaar and Rose Zheng at the New Zealand Amateur Golf Champs. Photo / Supplied
Champions Louis Dobbelaar and Rose Zheng at the New Zealand Amateur Golf Champs. Photo / Supplied

Australian Louis Dobbelaar and New Zealands Rose Zheng have won the 2016 Cobra Puma New Zealand Amateur Championship.

Dobbelaar becomes the youngest winner in the tournaments history at the age of just 15. He defeated the experienced Peter Spearman-Burn 2&1 at the picturesque Royal Wellington Golf Club today.

It was an epic 35-hole battle which for the majority of the day was dominated by Spearman-Burn, before he unravelled coming home to give Dobbelaar the biggest win of his short and exciting career.

It was hard for the new champion to hide his emotions with friends and family all there to watch.

Unknown to most, Dobbelaar is a country member at Royal Wellington with his father living in the region. Vince Dobbelaar also carried his sons bag for the week, so it was a family affair as the boy from Brisbane prospered.

"It feels crazy, the last six holes I thought I had a chance but somehow I battled it out and got the result.

"Its really cool to have them all here, there was so many of them, I didnt realise I had that many family members but it was a pretty cool feeling having them supporting me.

"Its so cool to have a big crowd and it is definitely the biggest win of my career so far, but hopefully there can be a few more."

Unfortunately for Spearman-Burn he couldnt maintain the magic that he supplied all week and faltered down the stretch. The Miramar and Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club member missed crucial putts on 14, 15 and 16 which sealed his fate and was unable to join his twin brother Thomas who won the New Zealand Amateur title in 2008.

In the womens championship, Zheng showed age was no barrier as she disposed of her fellow Auckland teammate and captain Muchin Keh, winning by a healthy margin of 3&2.

The 14-year-old became the second youngest in history to win the championship behind world number one Lydia Ko.

"I cant believe it, I cant believe it and I dont know what to say!" said a bubbly Zheng.

"It means so much to me and I hope this can be a big boost for my future. Winning my first Jennian Homes Charles Tour event was also a huge booster last week, so I am pretty happy."

Although the margin of victory was dominant, it wasnt smooth sailing for the Pakuranga member after Keh carded three birdies in four holes early in the second round to bring the match back to even and test Zheng. For her to bounce back and finish off the match was a true sign that she is a talent and one to watch for the future.

This week was a test for all golfers, but also a good test for this great golf club, Royal Wellington who will be the venue for the 2017 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC). This afternoon we witnessed the pure passion they have for the game with galleries that flocked the fairways. The number of fans dwarfed that of the recent AAC in Korea which will be a huge confidence booster for the club.

When one of the worlds biggest amateur events embarks on Wellington next year, they will be ready and will do a great job of hosting the prestigious event.

Today showed that the game of golf is in safe hands with this easily being the youngest pair of combined winners and that New Zealand has some special people and players coming through the ranks.

We look forward to seeing you in the garden city for the 2017 Cobra Puma New Zealand Amateur Championship where Russley Golf Club will play host.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Golf NZ

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